By Anthony Campbell

The Charleston baseball team fought hard on Wednesday afternoon against Neoga, chipping away at an early 5-0 deficit.

But a three-run homer by Cade Landrus and four-run rally in the second inning was not enough as the Trojans lost 8-4 at Marty Pattin Field.

Charleston starter Kendall Pankey struggled early, allowing three runs in the first inning and two more in the second. He allowed seven hits and seven runs over 4 2/3 innings, striking out six.

In the first inning, Nate Lacy ripped a two-run home run on a line drive to center field to make it 2-0. A wild pitch enabled another run to score in the inning.

Kaden Young doubled to drive in a run in the second, and a sacrifice fly by Adam Fearday extended the lead to 5-0.

The Trojans countered by scoring four runs in the bottom of the second. Landrus drilled a three-run home run over the left-center field fence following walks to Ty Coartney and Luke Landrus to make it 5-3.

Charleston then cut it to 5-4 on an unusual play. Jeb Vanatta swung and missed on a pitch for strike three that bounced off the dirt and into the Neoga catcher’s mitt. Instead of either tagging the batter or throwing the ball to first, Lacy rolled the ball back to the mound. Cory Spour raced around third and scored and Vanatta reached first base before Neoga’s confused players eventually retrieved the ball, allowing CHS to move within 5-4.

But that was the last time the Trojans scored.

Neoga starter Alex Ramert surrendered four runs on just one hit across 1 2/3 innings before being pulled for Luke Romack, who combined with Isaac Walk and Lacy to limit Charleston to three hits across the final 5 1/3 innings.

The Trojans struggled on defense, committing four errors that allowed two unearned runs.

Landrus was able to tally two hits in three at bats. Applegate and Vanatta recorded Charleston’s other two hits.

The Trojans, who play host to Marshall Thursday afternoon, fall to 1-1 for the season.